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“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” E. Edwards

Last summer I shared the Rising Above message with the 8,000 employees of Alabama Power. They were responsible for getting electricity back after the most devastating storm in history ripped through their state. While traveling through Alabama I met many of the survivors of these storms. They all shared incredible stories of how they survived. Unique stories with one similarity: the sound they heard before the storm and the one they heard after. As the storm approached it was the piercing sound of a freight train; as soon as the storm passed it was the beautiful sound of chainsaws.

This past weekend, I shared their experience. It’s the experience of a painful storm, it’s devastating effect, and the following, beautiful sound signaling the beginning of healing.

On Sunday all the neighborhood kids were in the back yards playing. Watching from my deck, I saw the regular chaos of children playing together, kicking balls and playing games. But then the chaos became a spontaneous race toward the back of the yard. An older boy sprinted into his house returning seconds later with his father. Together they raced through the gate, into a neighbors yard, followed rapidly by other adults – all running.

Our neighbor is a wonderful young man with a beautiful wife and new baby. They just moved into the house. He had been on an extension ladder cutting branches when one snapped back, smacking him in the chest, causing him to fall 20-feet to the ground. He lay at the base of this tree disoriented, in pain, and unable to move his legs.

The police, fire, and EMS were there within moments. They stabilized him, carted him to the ambulance, and transported our neighbor to the nearest trauma center. He and his family’s lives forever changed.

The storm had hit.

The rest of us stood around stunned by this crushing event. We stared blankly at the ladder still perched against the tree, at the massive branch hanging menacingly above, at the yellow police tape cordoning off the site.

I cried to myself and prayed to God, not knowing what else to do. Then came the sound, the first tangible sound, of healing.

A few of the men went back to their houses, returning with chainsaws. They gathered and disposed of the police tape. They climbed the ladder and cut down the huge branch. They sliced it into firewood and stacked neatly against the house. They removed the ladder and returned it to the garage. These men transformed a site of a terrible tragedy into a monument of love. It was a small step in the healing. But anyone who has endured tragedy knows that there are no small steps in recovery. Each step along the journey critical as they become pages in the books we author going forward.

As you face your own storms in life and the fact that things will never again be as they were before you have a choice. You can choose anger, choose to yell about it, choose to cry about it, choose to never recover from what you’ve lost. Or, as impossibly hard as this might be to believe and as long as it may take to get to this point, you can choose to accept it, choose to make the best of it, and choose to realize that in spite of those changes that the best of your life remains in front of you.

Start your chainsaw today. The world needs to hear that although storms destroyed your expectations, they haven’t destroyed your possibility.

My friends, I ask you to keep this incredible family in your thoughts and prayers. The road in front of them is wildly uncertain and fraught with challenge. The dreams of what their life looked like weeks earlier as they walked boxes and furniture and beds and a crib into their new house have changed forever. As painful and unwanted as this change is, there remains hope that miracles still happen, the light of day always follows the darkness of night, and the truth remains that the best is yet to come.

John O’Leary

Today’s challenge: We are presented opportunities every day to start the chainsaw and inspire hope in others. What phone call can you make, meal can you prepare, project can you assume, activity can you lead, word can you say that will inspire another to see a glimmer of light in the midst of their storm? Got something or someone in mind? Great…Now do it! Take action! The world is starved for the sound of your love and resilience!

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.” E. Edwards

Last summer I shared the Rising Above message with 8,000 employees of Alabama Power. They were responsible for getting electricity back after the most devastating storm in history ripped through their state. While traveling through Alabama I met many of the survivors of these storms. They all shared incredible stories of how they survived. Unique stories with one similarity: the sound they heard before the storm and the one they heard after. As the storm approached it was the piercing sound of a freight train; as soon as the storm passed it was the beautiful sound of chainsaws.

This past weekend, I shared their experience. It’s the experience of a painful storm, it’s devastating effect, and the following, beautiful sound signaling the beginning of healing.

On Sunday all the neighborhood kids were in the back yards playing. Watching from my deck, I saw the regular chaos of children kicking balls and playing games. But then the chaos became a spontaneous race toward the back of the yard. An older boy sprinted into his house returning seconds later with his father. Together they raced through the gate, into another neighbor’s yard, followed rapidly by other adults – all running.

The house where they were all running was recently purchased. It’s owned by a wonderful young man with a beautiful wife and a new baby. They just moved into the house. He had apparently been on an extension ladder cutting branches when one snapped back, smacking him in the chest, causing him to fall 20-feet to the ground. He lay at the base of this tree disoriented, in pain, and unable to move his legs.

The police, fire, and EMS were there within minutes. They stabilized him, carted him to the ambulance, and transported our neighbor to the nearest trauma center. He and his family’s lives forever changed.

The storm had hit.

The rest of us stood around stunned by this crushing event. We stared blankly at the ladder still perched against the tree, at the massive branch hanging menacingly above, at the yellow police tape cordoning off the site, at the kids taking it all in.

I cried to myself and prayed to God, not knowing what else to do. Then came the sound, the first tangible sound, of healing.

A few of the men went back to their houses, returning with chainsaws. They gathered and disposed of the police tape. They climbed the ladder and cut down the huge branch. They sliced it into firewood and stacked neatly against the house. They removed the ladder and returned it to the garage. These men transformed a site of a terrible tragedy into a monument of love. It was a small step in the healing. But anyone who has endured tragedy knows that there are no small steps in recovery. Each step along the journey critical as they become pages in the books we author going forward.

As you face your own storms in life and the fact that things will never again be as they were you have a choice. You can choose anger, choose to yell about it, choose to cry about it, choose to point fingers, choose to never recover from what you’ve lost. Or, as impossibly hard as this might be to believe and as long as it may take to get to this point, you can choose to accept it, choose to make the best of it, and choose to realize that in spite of those changes that the best of your life remains in front of you.

Start your chainsaw today. The world needs to hear that although storms destroyed your expectations, they haven’t destroyed your possibility.

My friends, I ask you to keep this incredible family in your thoughts and prayers. The road in front of them is wildly uncertain and fraught with challenge. The dreams of what their life looked like weeks earlier as they walked boxes and furniture and beds and a crib into their new house have changed forever. As painful and unwanted as this change is, there remains hope that miracles still happen, the light of day always follows the darkness of night, and the truth remains that the best is yet to come.

John O’Leary

Today’s challenge: We are presented opportunities every day to start the chainsaw and inspire hope in others. What phone call can you make, meal can you prepare, project can you assume, activity can you lead, word can you say that will inspire another to see a glimmer of light in the midst of their storm? Got something or someone in mind? Great…Now do it! Take action! The world is starved for the sound of your love and resilience!

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Get Ready for Ignition!

The most common request we receive is “When can I hear John speak live?”

Well, we have great news! We are in the process of planning our first event open to the public (open for YOU!) later this summer. August 17, 2012 in St. Louis, MO we will be hosting our first ever Ignite Life Today conference!

It will be a full day of highly emotional,incredibly personal, extraordinarily relevant content that will expand your enthusiasm for life, your effectiveness as a leader, and your focus in hurdling past the challenges you face. You’ll discover your passion and purpose, set goals to advance you forward, and the create the specific next to ensure that you will leave that afternoon on fire with life!

Specific details to come in our next newsletter!

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Live Inspired Together is a community of friends changing the world together, starting with their own. In a world that often focuses on negativity, John O’Leary - Live Inspired shares the other side of the story through his member-supported channels (essays, Live Inspired Podcast, video, webcasts, social platforms) to connect our community and share inspiration and actions to live it. Support now.